Looking for midpriced receiver to match Paradigm Atom's.............
I am in the process of putting together my first home theater system. I am limited by a budget. I have purchased Paradigm Atoms for my front and rear's and a Paradigm cc-170 for a center. My sub is an Acoustic research PR 1010. I have been looking around at receivers (Onkyo 691, Denon 1082, Denon 1804, H/K, NAD, and Marantz) but am having a tough time figuring out which would best suit my needs. A second zone option is important. Any suggestions in the $400-$700 price range?
I have seen the Pioneer Elite VSX-43TX for $595 and the brand new VSX-53TX for $700. Both are excellent, but the 53 has the new Dolby EX, Dolby Prologic II, and lots of other useful things. I have seen the Onkyo 601 at $425 and the 701 @ $640. The HK AVR-525 @ $640 from bestpriceaudiovideo.com.
Personally, I would get either Pioneer Elite. With their built-in SPL calibration it makes setting up speakers optimally very easy. The build quality is top notch and they have more power than you will ever need for those speakers, as they have 100 watts for every channel.
But any of these receivers would be good for your set-up.
I would go with the NAD 752, which is available now for $699 from several internet dealers (Saturday Audio Exchange, DMC-Electronics, YAWA and Kiefs). The NAD has a warm sound, but it isn't as laid back sounding as the Pioneer Elite, for instance (a good receiver, but not a good match with the Atoms IMO). Paradigms also have a very "laid back" quality and I think you need something a little more upfront to get the best out of your Atoms (a fine speaker BTW). NADs have a wonderful power supply which makes a huge difference in the quality of the sound.
I would also recommend the Outlaw 1050, for $499, for the same reasons if you want to spend less. Very similar in sound to the NAD, it also shares the big advantage of a good power supply so that the receiver never sounds strained.
Does the 752 have zone 2 capabilities? I looked on their website and it looks like the 762 does but the 752 does not.
The 762 does but not the 752. Wait a little while because the new NAD's will be out next month and the possibility of getting the 762 for less than $899 will be greater. Especially if some factory reconditioned units come up for sale.
I noticed that Hawk's runner up to the NAD T752 in the $400 - 700 price range was the Outlaw 1050 rather than the NAD T742 or upcoming 743. I'm leaning to the Outlaw myself, high quality sound for music is my priority rather than HT features. I also live 4+ hours from a hifi dealer, so dependability is important and no brand gains points by having a dealer right around the corner. Any comments/opinions on this from Hawk and others?
If you don't need Dolby Prologic II I would get the Outlaw. But that said, the Paradigm Atoms are very easy for almost any receiver to drive. I presume you have a self-powered subwoofer, so the receiver won't be driving that anyway.